Think Tank Warns That UK Missing Out On The Community Potential For Energy
By Cynthia Taylor
The Green Alliance has argued that lack of clear policies and financial restrictions means that the UK will fall short of the Community Schemes 3.5 GW's potential.
The Alliance continues that the huge potential of the green community energy schemes is being hampered because due to the fact that access to finance and clear policy is not being implemented.
The Green Alliance reports that at present there are about 50 community co-operatives for renewable energy and approximately 2,000 community installations that are already registered for support from the feed in tariff subsidy schemes.
There is a potential capacity of 3.5GW for the community owned projects however existing frameworks have many barriers in place that make it difficult for community projects to be able to get them in motion for the developers.
The report also adds that these policies for instance the Green Deal as well as the feed b tariffs haven’t been designed for projects such as community scale projects, and that the government has tailored their green clean energy policies for the commercial players.
The government have taken various steps for the promotion of community projects, for instance, a recent move for increasing the threshold of feed in tariff projects that are eligible to 10MW – the Green Alliance says that government's approach for these community projects have been 'piecemeal; up to date.
The Green Alliance says that the government should set an ambitious and clean vision for community energy and this should be set out for any forthcoming energy strategy for communities. The also say that the strategies should include community projects when designing new energy projects. The Alliance also said that the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) would be better able to support community projects and initiatives and provide better access to financial help through the Green Investment Bank (GIB).
The Labour MP for Sheffield Central has highlighted information about a hydro-electric scheme that was scrapped in his constituency when recent changed in the Environment Agency requirements became too expensive - this is a prime example of of the type of barriers that are faced by the community.
He continued that there was a lot of interest in his constituency with regard to community energy, but risky and complex processes for development make it harder for the communities than it should be. He said that it should not be happening, he felt that government should be encouraging these projects and making it easier for community groups to ensure their ideas are implemented.
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